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Saraki’s Time Is Over, Says Oshiomhole |The Republican News

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“I think Saraki’s time is over. He fails to understand that the Nigerian national projcect is not at his mercy or the mercy of his own dynasty.”

Excerpts of an address by the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, ADAMS OSHIOMHOLE, at a press conference in Abuja last week

Basically, to respond to some of the issues raised by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, at the press conference he addressed two days ago. It is important we addressed some of the issues he canvassed so that the public is not misled into turning villains into heroes and twisting the facts that are really no secret to the Nigerian public. But it is important that we help the public to refresh their memories and arrive at their own individual judgement.

First, the Senate President raised the issue of the fact that he has always acted not on the basis of his own personal interest; that he has always acted on the basis of national interest. The truth is it is doubtful if the Senate President has ever acted either in the national interest or in the interest of his own political party before his defection recently.

Without going back to ancient history, suffice to start by looking at how, in the first instance, Senator Bukola Saraki became the President of the Senate. He decided, clearly against the party’s position, to enter into a deal with the opposition PDP and got a faction of the PDP and taking advantage of the provisions in the Constitution to side with him while the majority of the APC senators were having a meeting at the International Conference Centre in order to resolve the issue of leadership of the Senate and other principal officers of the Senate that is expected to be produced by the ruling party with majority senators in the Senate. Because he had put his personal interest over and above the interest of the party when he went into alliance with the PDP and he conceded the position of Deputy Senate President to the opposition in order to obtain the support of the opposition for him, Senator Saraki, to become the Senate President.

So, for the first time in our democratic history in Nigeria, we had a situation, which, whereas the APC has the majority in the Senate, the Senate went on to elect a PDP person as Deputy Senate President. This action alone portrays Senator Saraki for who he is; his personal interest comes before any other interest, including the national interest, including the interest of his political party. Having gone into this unholy alliance with the opposition and mortgaged the right of the ruling party, he proceeded to appoint opposition senators to head strategic committees whose activities can affect, either for good or for bad, the workings of the government and relationship between the government and the legislature. Senator Saraki did that in order to continue to protect himself against the wish of his party as Senate President. Again, that shows that the only thing that was always constant in the mind of Senator Saraki was how to cling on to power even if it means at the expense of his party or even of the country, and I will speak to that.

You do not need to be a political activist or a partisan politician to appreciate that, in an election year, every government around the world will do everything possible to ensure that it is seen to be working for the people of the country. So, like any other, the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigerians expected that it will do everything possible this year to make up for lost time in terms of budget implementation and addressing critical infrastructures without which sustainable development is impossible.

The Senate under Saraki chose instead to delay the budget up to the end of the first half of the year, to coincide with the period of the rainy season such that those aspects of infrastructure such as roads, for example, cannot really be constructed during the rainy season. These were not errors of the head on the part of Senator Saraki’s leadership. They were clearly designed to frustrate the capacity of President Buhari’s government to address the physical infrastructural deficit without which the ordinary man in the street cannot feel the impact of governance. Again, I want to plead that I am not about to reveal anything. On receipt of the budget by Mr President, after going through it, Mr President cried out that the budget that was handed over to him by the National Assembly under the leadership of the Senate President was a clear distortion of the well-thought-out budget proposal that was submitted to the National Assembly. Whereas Mr President appreciates that the National Assembly could make some alterations in the budget, he did not expect that the budget would be completely rewritten and so grossly distorted as to make far more provisions for recurrent expenditure such that there is very little left for capital projects without which the Nigerian people cannot benefit from governance. And the President said this budget would be difficult to implement. You have all heard the stories of budget padding and no budget padding, but on this occasion, I would rather not delve into those.

So, when I say that the Senate President has never put Nigeria first, I support this statement by the deliberate delay of the budget and the deliberate manipulation of provisions in the budget in a way that it would compromise the commitment of the government to address critical infrastructure. It is by now not a secret that as, Senate President, he conspired with others to try to create a sense of division within the ruling party, having failed to truncate the convention, where they assembled a couple of people who were neither delegates nor contestants for any of the offices at the convention to purport
to have formed a political party. There is nothing for me to add to the illegality of this action and the false foundation that the Senate President tried to lay. However, upon his illegal defection, which he had to do hurriedly because of the number of senators who he was playing on their fears that they would not be able to return to the Senate or that if they return they would be heading to prison if President Buhari is reflected. So, he had a situation whereby about 36 senators, who were on his list to defect, but consequent upon our election and our assumption of office, we took pre-emptive steps to reassure those senators. Many of you would not have witnessed the fact that the first meeting we had, a day after the convention, Sunday, June 24, 2018, the first person we met was Senator Bukola Saraki, to try to listen to whatever his grievances were and this I did in the company of the Vice President. At least, he was able to confess to that, when I tried to listen to negotiable or verifiable grievances. But, however, his real grievances are not negotiable. Which is about ambition, about values, and conflicting values of him as a person and the values of the APC. However, when he defected, however illegal his action was, he went to Ilorin to tell Ilorin people part of the truth, when he said, among other things, that he was leaving for two major reasons. Number one was that he alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari gave out over 200 juicy jobs without allocating some juicy jobs to him. And, he chose to speak for the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, that even Dogara also was not given juicy positions. Again, I would have thought that not being a union leader, it is not for him to speak for the Speaker. The Speaker is well capable of speaking for himself. That is aside from the key issue, which was that he lamented that he was not given a share of the so-called 200 juicy positions. I asked, giving Senator Bukola Saraki, Senate President, juicy position, does that coincide with Nigeria’s public interest? Does that coincide with the interest of the people of Kwara State or the interest of the people of Senator Saraki’s senatorial district? At no time did he refer to the interest of his own constituency or the interest of Nigerians. The second reason he gave was that he was being persecuted. Again, even that, the alleged persecution of his person, not persecution of his people. Again, he never pretended that any of these actions have to do with the good people of Nigeria, they have to do with his person, to the extent that the alleged personal persecution of his person, not that of Kwara State people, or the people of his constituency or Nigerians. But, I think the Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, was more explicit in corroborating Senator Saraki’s claim when he said he, as a governor, and Senator Saraki as Senate President, was being linked to armed robbery cases as part of their reason for defecting. Again, nothing to do with the Nigerian project, nothing to do with Kwara State people. However, what is the truth, as he linked the Senate President to armed robbery? Was it the Federal Government or arrested armed robbers? It was armed robbers who were arrested that alleged that the weapons with which they carried out their heinous crime, including the killing of about 35 indigenes of Kwara State, somewhere in Offa, that those weapons were procured for them. They made that allegation according to a police report, which is now known everywhere, so it is not a secret to be declassified

In support of my thesis that the Senate President has never acted with the Nigerian national interest in view, my final submission is the way in which he adjourned the Senate about two weeks ago. The Senate calendar is not a secret to the presiding officer of the Senate. The Senate calendar that was known was that the Senate was going to adjourn on a Thursday. By Tuesday morning or Monday night, Senator Saraki used his guest house, wrote out names of senators with provisions meant for signatories, for senators to decamp to the PDP from the APC. Happily, some of the senators present refused to sign. And that was what frustrated his calculation that by the time he was done, he was going to turn APC into a minority party in the Senate. For careful observers, is it a coincidence that as the Senate President was reading defections, his counterpart in the House of Representatives was also simultaneously reading the names of those who defected. So, there was a coordination for defection day. But happily, the pre-emptive steps we have taken to address those with genuine grievances frustrated their number such that from 36, he could not get more than 14 senators to decamp. This was on a Tuesday, the calendar of the Senate stated that they were going to adjourn on a Thursday. So, between Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the Senate was expected, like I confirmed from the Senate Leader, to look into the supplementary budget for INEC. What INEC requirement is not the equipment you buy from the shelf. You must order them and make allowance for the manufacturers to produce them. You don’t buy them the way you buy a pack of cigarettes from the shelf. So, time is of the essence.

However, the Senate under Saraki’s directive adjourned without considering the matter that was before it, including the budget for INEC. Now, if Senator Saraki adjourned the Senate ahead of schedule to resume towards the end of party nominations, can that act be said to coincide with the national interest? If you decide to frustrate the INEC by denying it the funding that it requires, can you be said to be a defender of democracy? If INEC doesn’t get their funds and, therefore, are unable to conduct a credible election, would that not lead to further serious consequences for our democratic process and our democratic environment?

He also made an unsubstantiated allegation to the effect that the event of last Tuesday, that it was an attempt to carry out an illegal impeachment. How can a presiding office arrive at that conclusion that there was a plan to carry out an illegal impeachment? Until an action takes place how can you determine the status? If the act of impeachment is unlawful then you can probably understand where he is coming from. But, the truth is that it is lawful to impeach anyone including the President of the Senate, including the Deputy President of the Senate if the number required to do so is present. So, he cannot preempt that. As they say, you don’t have to be a pathological liar to understand this general saying that once you start with one lie you would need series of lies to support that one lie. I don’t want to use the word lies to characterise the action or the statements of the Senate President. Let us look at the facts. From their own statement, they said they were aware that the Senate President was illegally going to be impeached and, therefore, they mobilised thugs, their journalists, cameramen and video to the Senate building. They had told the world that they had adjourned till September 25. Meanwhile, about 15 PDP senators were in the Senate and for the effect they imported hundreds of thugs that molested one or two of our members that were sighted in the premises. And, in order to expose the lie, I ask you as defenders of democracy, did you find any APC senator in the Senate? So, if APC senators were not in the Senate and it was PDP senators that were in the Senate, what is the basis of the false claim that there was an attempt to carry out an illegal impeachment?

If he does not resign as Senate President, he will be impeached according to law, not by thuggery or anything that is undemocratic. He cannot sustain a minority rule in the Senate and that is what is hurting him as we speak. They have about 48 senators, we have 53 senators. So, how can 48 senators preside over 53 senators?

Let me conclude by saying that when I say the Senate President will be impeached, he will be impeached according to the law. And, the Constitution is clear on how a presiding officer can be impeached. And, because several impeachments have taken place, both on former Senate Presidents
and former Speakers, we are not about to witness what has never happened before; we have enough precedence to all back on.

I have looked at the Nigerian Constitution. It does not say that an impeachment, once mooted is by itself illegal. Until it is done and you look at how it is done, you cannot arrive at a conclusion whether the process was lawful or unlawful. I think Saraki’s time is over. The way he has manipulated the politics of Kwara State, he fails to understand that the Nigerian national project is far more complicated and it is not at his mercy or the mercy of his own dynasty.  (The Sun)

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To Sack Me, Seats Of All Defectors In Senate Must Also Be Declared Vacant – Akpabio

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                         Senator Godswill Akpabio

Senator Godswill Akpabio (APC-Akwa Ibom) says any move to declare his seat vacant in the Senate will prove abortive.

He said though he had yet to hear about it, if his seat must be declared vacant, the seats of those who defected to the Peoples Democratic Party should also be declared vacant.

Akpabio made this known in an interview with newsmen in Abuja on Monday.

According to him, if the excuse of those calling for his seat to be declared vacant is that there is no rancour in PDP to warrant his defection, they should also know that there is no rancour in APC.

“Any defection from APC to PDP, we will like to declare those seats vacant.

“As you are looking at me, do I look perturbed? I have not heard the report.

“I think that is a rumour because, at the moment, there is no division in the APC. The APC is one family.

“If you hear about R-APC that was not really a political party, that was not a division.

“It has since been consumed in what they call Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP).

On the threat by APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, to get the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki impeached, Akpabio said he was not aware of that.

“I just came in from Ikot-Ekpene, where I decided with my people to join APC. I’m yet to be briefed on any of those items. I have not heard anything.

“Why don’t you wait for me to formally talk to you? I believe that when the National Assembly resumes, you will hear from me directly. So, exercise patience,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Akpabio, while defecting from PDP to APC, also tendered his resignation as the Senate Minority Leader.

(NAN)

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2019: Buhari Is Preparing Nigeria For Violent Transition – Dr Junaid Mohammed

By Correspondents

Dr.-Junaid-Mohammed

A former member of the House of Representatives during the Second Republic and a delegate to the 2014 National Conference, Dr Junaid Mohammed is unhappy with political developments in Nigeria. In this interview with Onwuka NZESHI, he spoke on the state of the nation and a wide range of other issues

 

What is your view on the call by former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on President Muhammadu Buhari to retire at the completion of his current tenure and the moves to assemble a Third Force to lead Nigeria?

In fairness to all other political commentators, you have to admit that Obasanjo wasn’t the first to make a statement about the need for a Third Force. I have been saying this for two years before Obasanjo made his comment.

Secondly, after Obasanjo made his comments, another former Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida also released a statement saying the same thing. I can tell you that the two statements were not only timely but absolutely truthful. The accusation of corruption, incompetence, nepotism and all other things levelled against Buhari and his administration were facts. So, irrespective of the occasional stormy relationship between me and either of them, if what somebody has said is the truth, we should accept it for what it is. The truth is the truth irrespective of the person’s proclivities. So I can tell you that I share in the contents of the commentaries made by Obasanjo and Babangida. In this very instance, I am 100 percent with them because they are 100 percent with me, repeating what I said two years earlier.

As far as I am concerned, neither Buhari nor the cabal around him in the Presidency and the entire government has challenged anything any one of us has said about the failure of the administration. So if it has not been challenged, it is deemed to be true and I believe it is true.

Are you saying that Buhari hasn’t got a right to seek re-election?

I think it is important for us to realise that in a democracy, anybody who wins a credible election is entitled to be regarded as a legitimate leader and that legitimacy which is bestowed on the individual or group of individuals or party, ‘remains valid until the performance of the individual or group concerned loses that legitimacy.

I have said it before that if performance legitimacy is something important in a democracy, then Buhari has lost his legitimacy and the party he leads has lost its legitimacy. For all I care, there is nothing that has happened between the time I spoke and the time Obasanjo and Babangida spoke; nothing has changed.

This is a government that has failed to deliver and we judge deliverance on the basis of performance. And if you judge a politician by what he said he is going to do during the electioneering campaigns then this government has failed.

This government promised to rid our society of poverty; they promised to rid this country of corruption; they promised to rid this country of Boko Haram insurgency and other forms of insecurity and they promised to do a number of other things. They have not succeeded in doing anything. So if you are to assess the performance of a government by what they do after winning an election, you have to admit that Buhari and the cabal he leads have failed woefully and lost legitimacy.

Some time ago, I said I was willing to give them 30 percent in their anti-corruption war and 40 percent on the fight against insurgency, but now I am not sure I am willing to award them such marks now given the way the counterinsurgency battle has turned in recent times. The level of insecurity in the country has gotten worse.

We are no longer contending with the Boko Haram in the North-East and militancy in the Niger Delta, but we are now confronted with the Fulani herdsmen ravaging the whole country. There is a failure in all areas of our national security and I don’t see where can give them a pass mark.

In addition, there is an obvious problem of our country sliding into anarchy.

Out of the 36 states in Nigeria today, 32 are governed only with the substantial help of the military which means the civil authorities are in charge only in four states of the federation.

We have an Inspector General of Police who doesn’t take orders from the Commander-in-Chief and nothing has happened to him. He can flout presidential orders because his appointment was not done on the basis of merit but on either corruption or something else. He is the most scandalous IGP in the history if Nigeria and Buhari don’t have the balls to sack him.

We also have other issues. The Service Chiefs have had their tenures extended for a second time.

You don’t extend the tenure of Service Chiefs that way because of the consequences it has on the security services themselves. Now that it has been done, it will trigger demoralization of personnel in the Armed Forces because those who have been trained to take over from the current crop of Service Chiefs might never get those positions again in their career. Now if those currently in command of the security forces remain, the war in the North-East will never end because virtually all of them are involved in one form of business or the other. They get fish from Baga near Lake Chad and bring it down South to sell. Others are involved in other commodities and businesses. As long as these people are making money from the war situation, the war will never end.

Apart from being counter-productive to the counter-terrorism war, the tenure extension is also dangerous to the moral of the other high ranking officers of the Nigeria Armed Forces.

What will happen is that by the time they are due to leave finally, two generations of Army, Navy and Air Force officers who would have come on stream as Service Chiefs and Commanding Officers in the divisions and formations would also be shoved out of the services. That is not the dream of these officers who worked hard with the hope of being made service chiefs and commanders. Everyone wants to get to the pinnacle of their chosen career.

Why do you think these Service Chiefs are being retained in spite of these problems you have enumerated?

It is the typical style of this President and his government. Of course, they had their tenure extended by Buhari on the advice of the cabal for reasons best known to them. Unless something happens, I can’t see how we can have a peaceful transition from one group of elite and one political party to another party or from this President to another President. This is very dangerous for democracy because the litmus test of democracy is the peaceful transition of power from one group of political elite and party to another without the intermediation of force or violence.

What are happenings now is that Buhari is preparing us for a violent transition from him to somebody else. As far as I am concerned, this system has failed and it has failed woefully. So it’s better we start thinking of alternatives

Is it really feasible to do away with the two major political parties and set up a completely new political platform that would be strong enough to give us credible leadership in 2019?

Before the emergence of the APC as a party from the other parties, how long did it take? How long did it exist before it contested and won a major election? It was formed .in 2014; it became a party in 2015 and won the election in 2015. So there is no big deal there. Secondly, the issue is not just about a platform; the issue is that we have a set of very unrealistic circumstances dictating our democratic experience.

As we speak, there are about 70 registered political parties in the country and we have been told that another 100 applications are being processed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).Sadly democracy under these circumstances is nothing but a farce. It is never going to be a meaningful democracy that will allow power to be used for the service of the people in the right sense of it.

We have seen how parties come together not on the basis of any ideology. They come together simply because they find it convenient to couple themselves into one group, give it some kind of fanciful name and go to contest an election. When, of course, they are in the money and they lose, they remain a formidable force to fight that election.

Today, the two major political parties we have are untenable. These two parties are different only in their names. They are like two sides of the same coin. Both of them are corrupt and they have incompetent leaders. They have no attraction with the common people in this country. None of them represents the social forces such as the labour movement, civil society and other social groups. If the relevant social forces are not represented by a credible party that is a perpetuation of anarchy and that is precisely what we have today.

The situation has been made worse because we have an incompetent and nepotistic regime. Under this kind of situation, we have merely transferred the economic and financial powers of the state to an individual family like what we have in some Latin American countries where a particular family controls the entire wealth of the entire nation. This is where we are heading to under the Buhari administration.

So it is better we have an alternative in the event of the two parties going hay-wire because they have all said they are going to conquer; they are going nowhere. In the event of a crisis situation, we don’t have to justify a military regime and that is why some of us have decided to have a party in waiting for 2019. A credible alternative platform is needed in case something happens because I believe something is going to happen.

What do you think is going to happen?

Well, I won’t tell you now; another time

Is the Social Democratic Party (SDP) the political path in waiting?

Yes. It is the party in waiting. It is not a collection of individuals like me or Olu Falae or Jerry Gana or Tunde Adeniran. No.It is a conglomeration of political forces coming together. Since 2016, I have been the leader of one political group called Peoples Salvation Party (PSP), a collection of people from the former Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) and then we have the SDP and one of two other parties that are likely to merge. There is the likelihood of the Labour Party (LP) either in part or in whole also joining the others to strengthen this multipurpose party in waiting. As it is now there are four parties coming together but there is the likelihood that more will join. We want to have this fusion of political forces and thereafter we can have individuals coming to join the party.

There are reports that Obasanjo is also involved in this arrangement and that he is currently wooing some key figures in the APC to come on board the new platform. How true is this?

Well, honestly, I will not be able to authenticate that because I haven’t heard that from any one of us who are the engine room of the new party. But the fact is that every one of us that are involved in the new SDP completely agrees with not only what Obasanjo said about the Buhari administration but also with what Babangida said about the same government. So to that extent, we are in bed together but there are a lot of us promoting the party who believe sincerely that now is the time for real change. We cannot have Buhari perpetuate himself forever. If by any mistake Buhari remains President after 2019 this country will be in very serious trouble and I don’t see how it can end peacefully

The major political parties think that those of you congregating around SDP is more or less spent forces who do not command the mass followership that could give your party victory in 2019. How would you react to this rating?

First of all, I have never heard anybody call me a spent force in the politics of this country. This is new to me. But it doesn’t matter. The choice is not for me to make; it is for the Nigerian people to make.

If they believe they are happy with what they have now; if they believe that the country is where it is supposed to be, they can continue voting either APC or PDP, but those of us who never joined APC or PDP can never be described as spent forces. I have never joined any of them because I don’t have faith in them. I have spent all my time from 1999 till date attacking those people and saying that these are not the right people to lead this country to the Promised Land. The spent forces are those who are either in APC or PDP and offered nothing new to Nigerians and I believe that the people have a right to choose. All we are offering is an alternative and the right to think differently.

What is your interpretation of the controversy between the Presidency and National Assembly in respect of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill?

As far as I am concerned, it is not the business of the National Assembly to micro-manage elections to the extent that they will be determining the sequence of the election. That is not democracy; it is the height of irresponsibility.

Secondly, these people have not given us a reason why they want a sequence different from the one provided by INEC. Is it because they think the sequence they provide will give them an advantage and that advantage may translate into something? I have read the Electoral Act and I am not persuaded that the responsibility of the National Assembly extends to micro-managing elections. If they know where it is in the law, they should show us.

Most of the people in the National Assembly particularly in the Senate are have question marks over them and lack any form of legitimacy. They only hide under the cover of their parties during the election and they have realized that with the present non-performance of Buhari if they go for an election alongside Buhari they may lose the election. I believe that if INEC refuses to accept the re-sequencing of the election, it will be justified by the law courts. However, it is too early to write off the issue but as far as I am concerned it’s a non-issue because it is not the business of the lawmakers to prescribe the order of elections.

There is a fresh outrage about the jumbo salaries and allowances of our parliamentarians. How do you react to a monthly payment of N13.5 million?

What the National Assembly has been doing is wrong, immoral, and hypocritical and rubbish. They have been giving themselves this kind of outrageous salaries and allowances which no legislator elsewhere on earth does. The idea is that a man who cannot make N100, 000 a month should now be given so much for doing nothing. Most of them do nothing, yet they are given N14m every month in addition to other allowances. It is, in my view, untenable and this democracy can never survive with this kind of people dishing themselves this kind of salaries that cannot be justified. They are the most irresponsible group of people on earth.

As we speak, the National Assembly sits for only three days in a week and yet they are paid as if it is a full-time job. How do you pay somebody full time for working three days a week? They don’t work on Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So who is fooling who? They are liars and a disgrace to democracy.

From day one, they set out to undermine the government and APC, their party. They are still doing the same thing three years after. If we want democracy to survive, we should never allow anybody to fix his salaries and allowances. I repeat, nobody should fix his own salary. There should be an independent body like the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission to do that after a proper job analysis. We should never fall into the temptation of borrowing a salary template from anywhere and just dump it here. What we pay as salaries and allowances to these people is not acceptable to the Nigerian people. Besides, look at the size of the national economy

How many economists are there? How many scientists are there in the National Assembly? How many engineers are there and what have they been doing before they came to the National Assembly? What has been their contribution to the nation since they found their way to the National Assembly? Look at the turnover; about 80 percent of them don’t come back after every election. This means that even if they had institutional memory, it is lost at every election because the majority has fallen by the wayside. These people just go to the National Assembly because of the money they want to make and nothing else.

If your group eventually emerges as the alternative platform and gets to power, what will you do differently to change the system?

I want to assure you that an SDP government will never allow legislators to fix their salaries and will never allow this perversion called constituency projects. The SDP will pay legislators their basic salaries and the minimum of allowances charged on a pro-rata basis as well as on the basis of distances travelled from their places of work to their home constituencies.

We will also ensure that every member of the National Assembly is accountable. There shall be no sacred cows. Those facing must give way. Yes, there are those who commuted what you might call bailable offences but you cannot be on bail and at the same time, be enjoying the salaries and other benefits of public office. It is unacceptable.

Are you talking about those facing corruption charges in the National Assembly?

Yes. They should remain outside the National Assembly until their cases are disposed off by the courts. If the judicial officers could be suspended because they are facing corruption charges these lawmakers should be treated the same way until they are cleared.

Do you think INEC is ready to conduct a free, fair and credible election next year?

Yes, they are. I say so because I know at least the Chairman well. I know his antecedents; I know him since he was a student and so far he has given no reason to want doubt his ability to conduct the election.  (New Telegraph)

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PDP: Anxiety As Supreme Court Case Commences Today |The Republican News

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From Ndubuisi Orji,  Abuja

There is anxiety within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the Supreme Court  commences hearing  on the party’s leaderships tussle today.

The apex court is adjudicating over an appeal filed by the PDP Caretaker Committee challenging the Appeal Court, Port Harcourt judgment,  which affirmed Senator  Ali Modu Sheriff as the national chairman of the party.

The Appeal Court in its judgment also declared the PDP May 21, 2016 National Convention,  where the caretaker committee was appointed after the dissolution of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) led by Sheriff , as null and void.

Sheriff, through his counsel, Akinlolu Olujinmi (SAN), had filed a motion challenging the competence of the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee to file the appeal in the name of the PDP. 

The Supreme Court,  it was gathered, would be taking the motion alongside the substantive suit.

Recently, activities at the National Headquarter of the PDP, Wadata House, where Sheriff operates from have grounded to a halt.

Apart from the presence of security officials and party officials who breeze into the secretariat once in a while,  the PDP headquarter is more or less a dead zone.

Party sources said this is because of apprehension over where the Supreme Court judgment would swing to.

Daily Sun gathered that the Sheriff group has put on hold some of its planned programme,  pending the ruling of the Supreme Court on its motion challenging the locus of the caretaker committee to file an appeal in the name of the PDP,  without the permission of the national chairman.

Also, activities in the temporary secretariat of the caretaker committee located in Wuse, in the Federal Capital Territory ( FCT),  Abuja has also died down completely.

However, both Sheriff and Makarfi camps told Daily Sun yesterday, in separate telephone interviews, that it is not true that they are apprehensive over the Supreme Court  case.

According to Sheriff’s deputy,  Cairo Ojoughoh, they are on the side of the law,  so there is no need to be afraid.

“Why would we be apprehensive when we are on the side of the law. We are sure that the Supreme Court will do what is right,” Ojoughoh stated.

On his part,  the legal adviser of the caretaker committee,  Dave Iorhemba, said the committee has a good case.

He said: “We are not apprehensive. Our case is good. We want the Supreme Court to make a prouncement on the place of party convention in the affairs of political party, not just the PDP.  We have a good case before the court.”

This is coming as the Minority Leader,  House of Representatives, Hon Leo Ogor,  has called on the Supreme Court to expedite on the PDP leaderships tussle.

Ogor,  who said they are awaiting on the verdict of the apex,  told Daily Sun in an interview that the earlier the Supreme Court gives its judgment on the party dispute,  the better for the PDP.

The minority leader said the outcome of the Supreme Court case would determine their next action,  noting that he is convinced that the caretaker committee did not get a fair judgment from the Appeal Court.

“For us,  we wait on the Supreme Court. And like I have always said,  justice delayed is justice denied. The Supreme Court will do us a major favour by coming out with a clear position as soon as possible,  because various elections are taking place at the moment.

“And it is important that this matter is taken care of for once and for all.

“I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that we didn’t get fair judgment from the Court of Appeal,  that is why we have ran to the Supreme Court. Whatever decision that comes out from the Supreme Court,  we will take our next step from there.

“We know we are at the final bus stop, whatever comes out from there,  the next step will be taken,” Ogor stated.


… ‘Why apex court can’t hear Makarfi group’s appeal’ –Shefiff, Ladipo

From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

As the Supreme Court resumes sitting today over the leadership crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party led by Ali Modu Sheriff (as Chairman), Prof. Wale Oladipo (as Secretary) said the Makarfi Committee, having been declared illegal by the February 17, 2017  judgment of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt, lacked the powers to take decisions for the party, including  initiating court proceedings in its name.

The sacked National Caretaker Committee of the party led by Ahmed Makarfi in  an appeal marked: SC/133/2017 before the Supreme Court is challenging the judgement of the court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division which declared the Senator Sheriff-led National Executive Committee as the authentic leadership of the party.

But in a written arguments in support of an application filed on March 21, 2017 seeking the striking out of the appeal, the Senator Sheriff-led NEC of the party said having been sacked by the Court of Appeal, the Makarfi Committee, lacked the powers to take decisions for the party, including  initiating court proceedings in its name.

The written addresss was filed on May 10 in compliance with the Supreme Court’s directive on May 4, 2017. The PDP leadership is contending that the Makarfi Committee did not obtain the necessary authorisation of the PDP to appeal in its name and on its behalf, because the PDP under the current leadership, was comfortable with the Appeal Court  judgment and did not intent to challenge it.

It further contented, in the address written by a group of lawyers led by Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), that since the Court of Appeal, in its February 17 judgment, declared that Sheriff-led NEC as the authentic leadership organ of the PDP, the Makarfi-led Committee could no longer pursue an appeal in the name of the party.

The Sheriff-led PDP leadership argued that the decision of the Makarfi committee to file an appeal in the name of the PDP without its (the party’s) authorisation was not only illegal butviolated the party’s constitution.

Relying on the provisions of Chapter 5, Articles 35(1), 36(1) and 42(1) of the PDP constitution, it argued that the party, with a corporate personality, could only act through the principal national officer, whose powers and functions are stated in the constitution.

It referred to a May 18, 2016 judgment of the High Court of the Federal Capital territory (FCT) in suit No: FCT/HC/CV/1443/2016, ordering a return to status quo as at May 18, 2016 and the subsequent judgment of the Federal High Court in suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/464/2016, to the effect that only the Sheriff NEC could instruct lawyers for the party, and urged the Supreme Court not to hear the appeal.

The Sheriff-led PDP leadership noted that it has not by its argument said the Makarfi Committee cannot appeal the May 17 judgment of the Appeal Court, having been parties in the case from the trial court, it (the Makarfi Committee) or its members could only appeal as interested parties after first, obtaining the court’s leave to so appeal.

In a counter argument, the Makarfi Committee, represented by a group of lawyers led by Wole Olanipekun (SAN), wants the court to discountenance the Sheriff NEC’s arguments and proceed to hear its appeal, in which it among others, urged the Supreme Court to set aside the Appeal Court judgment of February 17.

In its reply argument dated May 15, 2017, the Makarfi Committee queried the legitimacy of the application filed by the Sheriff-led NEC and argued that it was not only strange, but intended to frustrate the hearing of the main appeal.

It argued that it was wrong for Sheriff and others, who had briefed Akin Olujinmi (SAN) to represent them in the substantive appeal and had filed a respondents’ brief, in which they also made similar arguments in relation to the competence of the appeal, cannot again, brief Fagbemi to ask the court not to hear the appeal but to strike it out.

Relying on Order 8 Rule 6 (1), (2) and (4) of the Supreme Court’s Rules, the Makarfi Committee faulted the March 15, 2017 letter of the Sheriff-led NEC applying to withdraw the appeal and the subsequent application for its strike out. It argued that since the appeal was not filed by Sheriff and others, they lacked the right to apply to withdraw it.

The Makarfi-Committee argued that it was still a valid body with the power to file the appeal despite the Appeal Court judgment of February 17, 2017, because it was a creation of PDP’s highest decision making body, the National Convention, which disbanded the Sheriff-led NEC and preplaced it with the national Caretaker Committee.

In a response on point of law, filed by Fagbemi on May 18, the Sheriff-led NEC faulted all legal arguments by the Makarfi Committee, urged the court to discountenance its contention and hold that it lacked the locus standi to file an appeal in the name of the PDP, having been sacked by a subsisting judgment.

Meanwhile it was learnt yesterday that the Supreme Court has rescheduled the hearing of the appeal relating to the PDP leadership dispute for today (May 22).

The court had, on the last date, May 4, 2017 ordered the filing of the written briefs and adjourned to May 25 for hearing. It could not be ascertained yesterday what informed the court’s decision to bring the date forward.         (The Sun)

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PDP Will Not Win In Lagos, We have Learnt Our Lesson, Says Bola Tinubu

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APC National Chieftain, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu

Omotayo Yusuf

 -Chief Bola Tinubu assured that the APC will do all it can to win all the local government elections in Lagos

– He said the PDP has no place in the state

– The APC chieftain said the party has learnt from his past mistakes

National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sen. Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would not record any win in the forthcoming council polls in Lagos State.

Tinubu, a former governor of the state, said this while addressing hundreds of party faithful at the Lagos State APC Stakeholders’ meeting at the party secretariat at Acme Road, Ikeja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the stakeholders’ forum was held in preparation for the July 22 council polls.

Tinubu regretted the loss of some national and state legislative seats to the PDP in the 2015 general elections.

“2015 election was the greatest battle of our time. In the last election, we lost more than three LGAs to our opponents, which is very unusual.

“We have asked our leaders in those local governments to examine what went wrong and work together to chart a new course to ensure the APC wins back those councils.

“PDP cannot have any share in these council elections,” Tinubu said.

The national leader commended party faithful for their support to Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration, saying that the governor had not disappointed the party and the people.

“We are grateful to you the people for your great support during the 2015 election. We have continued to hold Lagos in spite of strong opposition.

“Gov. Ambode has not let us down; he is doing a fantastic job in an environment where we have the economic challenges. He is doing it and he is doing very very well.

“He has a very good team. He is doing a great job and we are very proud of that,” he said.

Tinubu urged party leaders at the grassroots to shun bribery and favouritism, adding that quality leadership and merit should be upheld.

“Our leaders should be fair to the people at the grassroots; we cannot please all, but we can satisfy the majority. This politics is give and take, compromise.

’’According to him, the party will not use any of the current sole administrators in the forthcoming council poll.

“To appease some people, we asked the government to allow the Executive Secretaries to take over after the tenure of last council chairmen expired, instead of civil servants.

“That was why executive secretaries were chosen to pave way for politicians.

“When the term expired, we used sole administrators, but before

we used them, we warned them that `

when the elective position comes, you are not entitled to contest’.

“We agreed that time, we cannot change it overnight; executive secretaries, however can contest.

” Tinubu, however, said 19 former council chairmen, except for one of them who is late, who only served single terms, would be given another chance in the coming elections.

He urged the party leaders to give consideration to youths and women in the sharing of positions.

The party leader also urged Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State to increase security presence in Surulere area of the state to check violence.

According to him, his attention was drawn to some violence in the area, which gave cause for concern.

”I urge the people of Surulere to be patient and peaceful. We will all benefit from the party,” he said.

Also speaking, Ambode urged all stakeholders to work together to ensure APC victory in all the 57 councils.

Ambode said: “We are meeting on a very happy note. I am able to look back and say that that confidence you reposed in me to defeat the PDP candidate was not in vain.

“This coming local government election is all in your hands. My call to all members of our great party is to ensure that all the 57 councils are won by APC. We have begun a journey to make Lagos and Nigeria progressive’’.

Earlier in his opening remark, Mr Henry Ajomale, the Chairman, Lagos APC, said that the forum was organised to allow party faithful to interact with the leaders of the party.

Ajomale said that meeting was aimed at moving the party forward ahead of the forthcoming council polls.

NAN reports that hundreds of party faithful and leaders across the 20 local government areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas were in attendance.

(NAN)

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Fani-Kayode Slams Obanikoro For Joining APC |The Republican News

ObanikoroFFKinKuje
My brother Musiliu Obanikoro’s decision to join the APC irks and saddens me. I say this because I have always loved him and I care.
You cannot fight evil by joining it. You cannot bring light by entering the darkness. You cannot find joy by partaking in the bread of sorrows.
You cannot run away in the heat of battle. You must have the courage of your convictions. Where is your honour? Where is your strength? Where is your dignity? Where is your self-respect? Where is your sense of self-worth?
You and I are royalty. We are Princes and Kings and children of the Living God. We were taught and brought up to fight to the end and never to bow to the enemy.
We were taught never to flinch before oppression. We were taught never to give in to our worst fears and to those who hate us and who despise our people. We were taught never to crawl on the floor and be slaves to our fellow-men.
Always remember that rebellion against a tyrant is an act of obedience to God. They may have today but tomorrow belongs to us.
Finally, take note of this: if you are not ready to die for something then you are not worthy of living for anything.
I would rather die a free man than living a slave. And as long as I live the Yoruba, nay the south, shall offer some form of resistance to our collective oppressors and as surely as God lives we shall never be slaves.

Femi Fani-Kayode is a lawyer by education and erstwhile minister of aviation, and a very vocal critic of Buhari’s government.

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BREAKING: Former Minister Of State For Defence, Obanikoro Joins APC

breaking-news

The former minister of state for defence and former Lagos state gubernatorial candidate of People Democratic Party, PDP, has  decamped from PDP to APC.

Musliu Obanikoro who is dealing with case of graft brought against him by the EFCC  has refunded a large sum of money he allegedly stole while he was the minister of state for defence under the immediate past administration of Goodluck Jonathan.

A Source very close to the party informed The Republican New reporter about his move to APC.

It has been alleged by the public that many members of PDP and other opposition parties members, who feel that their hands are not clean with regards to economic crimes and other forms of corruptions quickly decamp to APC to avert the actions of EFCC.

Though, this has been disputed by APC, but it is very plausible indeed.

This is a developing story, and we will bring you the update later.

DETAILS LATER…………..

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Jonathan’s Peace Move In PDP Collapses |The Republican News

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Goodluck E. Jonathan

Olusola Fabiyi, John Ameh and Kamarudeen Ogundele

The move by some leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party to use what they called ‘‘political solution’’ to settle the lingering leadership crisis in the party appears to have failed as declared by the two camps in Abuja on Thursday.

The sacked National Caretaker Committee, led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi, said only the Supreme Court would adjudicate in the crisis.

It added that the National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, should vacate office immediately, saying the former governor of Borno State was illegally occupying the office of the chairman of the party.

Sheriff however declared that it was unfortunate that the caretaker committee was insisting on going to the Supreme Court, stating that he would meet the committee at the apex court if it insisted on going ahead with the appeal.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan, at a recent meeting with the governors elected on the platform of the party in Abuja, promised to use political solution to settle the crisis in the party.

Spokesperson for the caretaker committee, Mr. Dayo Adeyeye, while speaking with journalists in Abuja on Thursday, said Sheriff should vacate office immediately.

He said there were about two judgments, which he said had earlier nullified the appointment of Sheriff, adding that none of the judgments was appealed by the former governor.

He said, “Only the Supreme Court will settle the matter. Even if the Supreme Court rules in their favour that the convention was illegal, we will use the judgments of other courts to demand that he should resign and go.

“Firstly, let us remind the public of our earlier calls on Sheriff to stop parading himself as chairman of the PDP following the judgment of an Abuja High Court delivered by Justice Valentine Ashi on June 29, 2016, in which the court nullified the 2014 Amendment to the PDP Constitution that produced Senator Sheriff as Acting National Chairman of the PDP.

“This judgment was never appealed by Sheriff and the time frame stipulated by law for the appeal has elapsed; and as such, the judgment subsists.

“So, he is an illegal national chairman.

“Secondly, another judgment delivered on August 17, 2016 by Justice Nwamaka Ogbonnaya of the FCT High Court in Abuja re-affirmed the sacking of Sheriff as the chairman of the PDP on the grounds that the judgment of Justice Valentine Ashi, which nullified his appointment, has not been set aside or vacated and therefore it’s subsisting.

“Once again, he is currently an illegal chairman given the decisions of the courts, the constitution of the PDP, decision of the national convention coupled with his act of breaking and gaining entry into the national secretariat of our party, Wadata Plaza.”

Adeyeye also disowned the report of the Reconciliation Committee presented to Sheriff by its Chairman, Mr. Seriake Dickson, who is also the Governor of Bayelsa State.

He said the committee was illegal, arguing that it had since ceased from existing because the party did not have any standing committee.

Adeyeye stated that the committee, like others, had been dissolved and that its report was therefore not acceptable.

“We respect our Governor, Seriake Dickson, and acknowledge his effort towards holding the next National Convention but he acted hastily and presented the proposal in error to Senator Sheriff,” he added.

Adeyeye said though his faction was still interested in finding a solution to the crisis in the party, there was no way the faction would allow Sheriff to preside over the proposed national convention.

“We want to state unequivocally that the party will not hold any National Convention under the leadership of Senator Sheriff. We are determined to pursue the matter before the Supreme Court conclusively in the interest of justice, equity, fair play and democracy in general,” Adeyeye stated.

But Sheriff, who spoke through Bernard Mikko, said he didn’t appeal the high court judgment, which sacked him, because he was never a party to the case.

He stated that it was sad that the Makarfi group had decided to pursue its appeal at the Supreme Court, adding that the apex court did not belong to anyone.

Mikko added, “Sheriff was never a party to the case they are talking about, so he couldn’t have been affected.

“On the issue of finding a political solution, we all agreed to it. But if they say they are going to the Supreme Court now, that’s okay. We will meet there.

“The court was never made for anyone. They have the right to appeal the judgment. We have no objections to this.”

He equally said that it was wrong for the group to reject the Dickson committee report.

“They can’t reject what was not submitted to them. The former National Chairman, Alhaji Bamangar Tukur, set up the committee and the committee worked.

“We want to do the convention and they are saying no. Who are they working for?”

Stop insulting my person, enough is enough, Sheriff tells Fayose

Sheriff, on Thursday, warned the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, to desist from making what he described as “derogatory remarks” against him, saying “enough is enough.”

Sheriff also defended the medical trip of President Muhammadu Buhari, insisting that every living human being could be sick, and that the sickness of anybody should not be made a political issue.

The former Borno State governor spoke with journalists in Abuja after the meeting of members of the PDP National Working Committee, where he stated that the party had accelerated the recommendations of the party’s Standing Committee on Reconciliation, headed by Dickson.

On Fayose, Sheriff said, “Let me make it clear to some of the party members, particularly, Ayo Fayose. I will not condescend to his level.

“I must be very clear to him, party has rules and we will look at the constitution at the appropriate time to do the right thing. He has made it a point of duty; every day, he will be insulting Ali Sheriff. I want to tell him that enough is enough.

“Belonging to a political party is by choice. Yes, you may have a right, but your right should not trample on another person’s right. Political party is a voluntary association. If you are a leader of a political party, we have to allow people to have their choice of leadership.

“In all these things we are doing, we believe that the PDP belongs to all Nigerians, we believe that PDP must be handed over to the owners.

“That does not mean a sign of weakness. The PDP has produced 28 governors, and today it has 12. If we allow impunity to continue, Nigerians have the right to reject our party. You can take a horse to the river but you can’t force it to drink.

“We can make this party attractive to everybody. We want to reposition the party so that it can win elections. Nobody has the monopoly to do what he is doing, like we don’t have the rule of law.”

On Buhari’s medical vacation, Sheriff believes the absence of the President has not affected the issue of governance in the country. He said the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, had been conducting the affairs of governance creditably.

He said, “Every living human being, including you, will get sick. Sickness of anybody should not be a political issue. If people believe that because a president of a country is sick, we now act on the newspaper to make it a political issue, that means we are not a good opposition party. I don’t think it is correct because in this country, there are sets of rule.

On Dickson recommendations, Sheriff said it would be subjected to further approval by the National Executive Committee of the PDP, adding that all organs of the party would be required to submit the list of their members to facilitate the nomination of members to the convention planning committee.

He explained that he had taken it upon himself to unite all party members. He said that he had spoken to all governors of the party, including Fayose, with the exception of the Rivers State Governor, Nyesome Wike.

Meanwhile, Fayose has restated his opposition to the Dickson committee report.

In a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, on Thursday, Fayose said, “I respect Governor Dickson; he is my brother and he is entitled to his own personal opinion just as I am entitled to mine. But I must state it categorically that no genuine lover of the PDP will take part in a convention sponsored by the APC.

“All constitutionally recognised organs of the party, including staff of the national secretariat, are with the Markafi led Caretaker Committee and since political party is about membership, Sheriff will continue to carry with himself the burden of lack of legitimacy.”

The governor, who said he had nothing against Dickson, added that the implementation of the report was beyond Sheriff.

“With the APC calling for support for Sheriff, it should be clear to all genuine lovers of the PDP who are those behind the crisis in the party.

“I am speaking for myself and the entire people of Ekiti State that I represent; we won’t be part of any PDP convention sponsored by the APC and I must state categorically that Sheriff is being sponsored 100 per cent by the APC.

PDP Reps clash again over Makarfi, Sheriff

The division in the PDP caucus of the House of Representatives deepened on Thursday as two groups held separate meetings at the National Assembly.

One of the groups had only two members who made public appearance.

The main caucus, led by the House Minority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor, is backing the Makarfi-led caretaker committee of the party.

The majority of the 134 members of the caucus belong to this group.

Another faction, led by a member from Edo State, Mr. Johnson Agbonayinma, is backing Sheriff as the PDP chairman.

The Agbonayinma group goes under the name of ‘Concerned PDP House of Representatives members’.

It claims to have “other members”, who are backing Sheriff. It has endorsed the reconciliation efforts of Dickson.

“We endorse Sheriff the National Chairman of our great party and commend Dickson and members of the reconciliation committee for their bold initiative in resolving the long-lasting crisis in the party,” Agbonayinma told a news conference soon after his own meeting ended.

However, it was only one member from Ekiti State, Mr. Oni Olamide, who appeared at the session with him.

Ogor had earlier convened a meeting of the main caucus, where they agreed to back Makarfi.

When contacted for his reaction to the moves by the Agbonayinma group, Ogor dismissed them as “unknown quantity.”

He added, “I have 140 members, but one or two may have contrary opinion. That does not mean that the caucus is not intact. We are focussed.

“How many are these people who call themselves ‘concerned PDP Reps?’ Let them mention five members in that group.

“The caucus speaks with one voice and we have decided to meet with the PDP governors in conjunction with our colleagues in the Senate.

“By Tuesday, next week, you will hear more. We believe that there is a case before the Supreme Court, which must be pursued to the letter.”

Asked whether the caucus was in support of the reconciliation efforts by Dickson, the minority leader stated that Dickson had yet to consult the National Assembly on whatever he was doing.

“We are very important stakeholders and Dickson has not consulted us,” he added.

On his views on whether a political solution could resolve the crisis, Ogor said a political solution would not stop the case at the Supreme Court from going on till the end.

He said Sheriff was functioning illegally at the national secretariat with only three National Working Committee officers, adding that the quorum of the NWC remained two-thirds, that is, eight members.

The Rep stated that the appointment of Dr. Cairo Ojuogboh and Mr. Bernard Mikko as members of the NWC was illegal as they were neither elected into the NWC nor were they appointed to the NWC by the NEC.  (Punchng)

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